Last year, one of the top executives of a Korean church charity was arrested in Loudoun County for allegedly stealing more than $700,000 intended for missionary work around the globe. It appeared he may have been living a “lavish lifestyle,” possibly with a mistress set up in an Annandale apartment, authorities said.
Now comes the explanation of Eun Tae Lee, at his sentencing in Loudoun last month: His former mistress threatened to reveal their affair to his wife, and he was paying blackmail money to her, according to Bonnie Hobbs in the Centre View.
Lee, 51, who lived in a Fair Oaks area townhouse with his wife, pleaded guilty in March to three counts of embezzlement. His lawyer said the actual amount of money stolen was $471,766, from Seed International Inc., a non-profit missionary group based in Sterling but funded by the giant Korean Central Presbyterian Church of Vienna. Lee was the chief administrative officer of Seed, state records showed, and witnesses at a preliminary hearing last year said he controlled the charity’s checkbook.
Lee bought a Porsche Cayenne and another luxury vehicle with the stolen cash, and prosecutors demanded full restitution. At sentencing, Lee’s lawyer, Jay Myerson, told Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Thomas Horne that Lee had an affair in 2003. “When he saw [the woman] years later in church, she blackmailed him,” Myerson told the judge. “She said she’d confront his wife if he didn’t give her assistance. At some point, he wanted to stop; but by then, he was in too deep.”
Virginia sentencing guidelines called for probation for Lee (!!), who apologized and expressed deep regret. Horne sentenced him to one year behind bars and full restitution of the $471,766. “This money was to be used for good works,” the judge told Lee, “but it was just used for somebody’s pleasure — even if you were being blackmailed.”
The Loudoun Times-Mirror also covered the sentencing.